Everyday I receive dozens of stories and photos of dogs and cats that need rescue, and I truly wish I could save them all.

One day recently, I chose to help a forlorn, abandoned 10-year-old feline named Marissa. This sweet old girl looked so dejected and hopeless. Her days were numbered and her life was miserable. Not any more! Thankfully, there are angels out there who go into action and spare nothing to help a homeless, innocent animal.

A fellow animal welfare advocate, Carol Whistenant, raced off to the South Carolina shelter to check on this scruffy, orange tabby Persian mix, who had all but given up, especially being 10 years old. Carol knew there were plenty of good years left for this sweet girl, if we could find the right place for Marissa.

Carol and I both have enormous admiration and love for Siglinda Scarpa and her cat sanctuary in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Though we knew she couldn’t possibly can take in every needy cat, after a few emails back and forth between the three of us, Siglinda generously agreed to take Marissa into her sanctuary, The Goathouse Refuge. Marissa hit the jackpot.

Carol drove Marissa from the South Carolina shelter to her new home in Pittsboro, NC. When Marissa tip-toed out of her carrier, Siglinda noticed that her front and back paws were malformed. Siglinda, who finds the joy and beauty in everything, exclaimed, “She walks just like a lovely ballerina.”

While little Marissa was probably abandoned because of her deformed little paws, Siglinda celebrated her uniqueness; it was love at first sight. Marissa’s entire demeanor changed from despair to peaceful joy.

Siglinda reports that Marissa immediately relaxed and made herself at home on a bed, but she also has chosen an additional loft bed with the other cats where she likes to socialize. She joins the other cats for meal times and is perfectly blissful and safe in her new Goathouse Refuge home until a permanent home is found.

I could write a book about Siglinda Scarpa, better yet a movie! Siglinda is a talented, celebrated artist and poet who grew up in Italy, where she still has a beautiful villa. She and her story are fascinating and compelling. Being in her presence brings joy. She exudes love for all God’s creatures.

Siglinda has always loved animals and dreamed of having a sanctuary for cats, where no cat would be refused due to age, illness or disposition. That dream became a reality in Pittsboro, North Carolina, with her safe haven known as Goathouse Refuge.

It is a beautiful place that Siglinda has transformed into a bit of her home in the Tuscany countryside with orchards, gardens, and trails and many happy cats who call it home. To learn more and possibly contribute through adopting, volunteering or donating to this 501(C) (3), click here to learn more.

I’m so happy to share more about this beautiful place created by a beautiful woman next week.

Tell Me: Have you ever adopted a furry friend?